Looks like we won't be getting Tim Worrell. We offered one million dollars; he politely declined. Well, actually, not so politely, if truth be told: in fact, short of laughing hysterically and setting fire to the offer, then dancing on its ashes, he could hardly have been less polite. He tells the Banana bluntly: " I don't think I should have to take a pay cut of two-thirds of my salary last year... My thing is, how do you plan to improve the bullpen if you don't spend any money?"
I think there's no doubt the Diamondbacks tried to lowball him and get a hometown discount (since he lives in the area), but it seems Mr. Worrell believes he deserves better. However, he may be in for a nasty shock in the free-agent market. He'll turn 39 in the middle of next season, and has seen his ERA+ decline for four straight years - 168, 149, 119, 109, putting him now barely above average. He is not the same pitcher who signed for the Phillies in 2003, even discounting his lengthy DL stint for "personal psychological issues," he may not find many takers.
As William K noted in the comments, we've dodged a Neifi Perez-shaped bullet, as he's staying with the Cubs for $6m over two years. The significance of this is two-fold: he won't be coming to Arizona, and it seems that Nomar will become a free agent. [Which pretty much locks that trade down in the Cubs Big Book of Bad Ideas] Hmmm... A cheap one-year deal for Garciaparra at shortstop: a) gives us someone to play there while Drew gets polished in the minors, and b) lets Nomar prove he's really back, after missing half the season in both 2004 + 2005, and prepares him for a big contract in 2007. Of course, the second reason would apply to just about any club.
Over at Minor League Ball, John Sickels takes a look back at the Arizona Top 20 Prospects for 2005 and how they performed. Sickels reckons with Q + J, we have "an offensive core with terrific potential," but his #3 and #4 prospects, Zeringue and Santos, both had disappointing seasons. It'll be interesting to see the lists for 2006: over at the Diamondbacks Bullpen, they've already started. Putting the choices given there together, on a ten points for first down to one point for tenth spot, the consensus list is:
- Drew, SS (48)
- Quentin, RF (44)
- Jackson, 1B (43)
- Nippert, SP (33)
- Montero, C (27)
- Carlos Gonzales, OF (26)
- Santos, SS (13)
- Mock, SP (10)
- Owings, SP (8)
Enrique Gonzalez, SP (8)
Difficult to argue with that as an overall assessment; I'd probably be more cautious about Carlos G, since he played at South Bend this year. He did hit .307 with 18 homers though. It's refreshing to see three starting pitchers listed, as this is an area where our development has been notorious in the past, Brandon Webb excepted (and he was an eighth-round pick). I think we may see Nippert in the rotation come Opening Day, but more on that in due course.
The end of season awards are coming out, not that any Arizona Diamondbacks appear to be in line, or have even picked up any votes, so far. Bartolo Colon won the AL Cy Young, which is a flummoxer and has come in for much criticism. It should probably have been Johan Santana, since I don't believe in giving it to relievers - how many saves did Cy Young have? [17: compared to 749 complete games] But voters still can't see past the wins, a statistic hugely dependent on your teammates' offense (for Colon, they averaged more than six runs per game), and the reliability of your bullpen. The good news is, this means Roger Clemens doesn't have a prayer in the NL.
I've finished my catcher report, but will hold off until tomorrow before posting that - it is the off-season, after all, so need to pace myself by stretching out the available material as far as possible! :-)